San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton will have to sit out one playoff game after being suspended for an illegal check to the head by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
The hit came during Game Three of the Sharks series verses the Vegas Golden Knights.
Near the end of the second period, Thornton hit Tomas Nosek after the Vegas Golden Knights forward played the puck. Nosek kept his head low as he followed through on the play and Thornton hit him in the head. Thornton was given a minor penalty on the play.
“It is important to note that the head is clearly the point of contact on this hit and that the head contact is avoidable,” the NHL states in the video.
Thornton’s last suspension came in November 2010 when he was banned for two games for a head hit to St. Louis Blues David Perron.
After the game, Thornton shared his thoughts about the hit with the media.
“I honestly thought I barely touched him,” Thornton said after the game, as reported by Fear The Fin’s Sheng Peng. “He came right back. It was just one of those plays, it is what it is. I think my son hits me like that six times a day. Just a weird position he put himself in, that’s all.”
Vegas’ Ryan Reaves had other thoughts about it, comparing Thornton to a friend’s grandpa who needs glasses because he can’t see very well.
— Las Vegas RJ (@reviewjournal) April 15, 2019
The Sharks will be without one of their top-scoring forwards for an important Game Four while icing a lineup with an injured lineup and poor goaltending.
San Jose’s Joe Thornton has been suspended for one game for an Illegal Check to the Head on Vegas’ Tomas Nosek. https://t.co/05ZmQEc7D6
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 15, 2019
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